Recently I posted about a lens I’d purchased that significantly improved images for me, especially for sharpness. In addition to that, the lens is “faster” with a larger aperture than enables faster shutter speeds in low light, very attractive when photographing wildlife in the early morning or late afternoon. It is one of Olympus’ truly professional level lenses and something I’d dreamed about owning but couldn’t really afford. Until I got a good deal on a used one. One that passed every test I could think of to prevent me spending the money on it. Good things to come to those who wait, regardless of what current social more would imply, I guess.
Well, here I am again in the same situation. The place I bought from is clearing out their Olympus Four-Thirds lenses and now they are offering the 14-35 f/2 for sale. I’ve been testing it for the past few days and right now can’t find any solid reason not to purchase it. Oh, yeah, there’s a scratch in the center of the front element but what I’ve learned from reading and shooting is you can have lots of crap on the front element of your lens without seriously degrading the image. There are some circumstances where that doesn’t work – short focal length, small aperture, shooting into the sun, etc. – but in all my testing where the scratch is visible in the image I’m able to eliminate it in post-processing. And before you purists say that’s cheating, film photographers have been touching up negatives since glass plate emulsion photography was the latest thing…
Another aspect I’ve discovered is with such a shorter depth of field (we’re talking f/2 here! – depth of field in the millimeter range for close-ups) I’m paying more attention to composition with focus points, putting my subject in focus and letting the parts behind it blur out. This lens lets the blur develop in a very smooth, natural way, much like our eye sees objects that are out of focus. My landscape photography bias usually keeps me striving for everything to be in focus but this lens has really brought out my interest in this alternative way to portray the world.
Here is a sample of what I’ve created with this new tool. Let me know what you think.